“You Can Sit Here…” – Greg Albrecht
It was the first day of school for Forrest Gump. As he walked down the aisle of the school bus his peers noticed the braces on his legs – on Forrest’s first attempt to take an empty seat, the occupant on the two-person bench seat spread his hands out, saying that seat was “taken.”
As I recall this happened several times until finally, near the back of the bus, Forrest paused next to an empty seat, receiving a beautiful smile from a lovely young lady seated by the window. Her name was Jenny and she welcomed him, saying “you can sit here…” Jenny became, as those of us who have seen “Forrest Gump” know (in my case I’ve seen it MANY times) the love of Forrest’s life.
The first time Forrest met Jenny she was Jesus to him. What? Jenny was Jesus to Forrest?? She was Jesus to Forrest on the bus on the way to the first day of school. Of course, Jenny was not always just like Jesus, to Forrest or to others in her life. But there were times, in spite of her life of pain, self-medication and addictions, running away from the abuses of her childhood, when she was Jesus.
By God’s grace, we have all had meaningful, sometimes life-changing encounters with people who were Jesus to us and invited us to sit next to them, while the rest of the world seemed not to care. More often than not we remember when our mothers were Jesus to us. But there were others – some known to us, some we never saw again.
There are times when people, whether they know it or not, whether they want to or not, “channel” Jesus to others. Perhaps God has worked in your life in such a way that you invited someone looking for acceptance and approval to sit with you.
I didn’t finish the complete quote of Jenny as she looked up at Forrest inviting him to sit next to her. She said, “You can sit here… IF YOU WANT.” That’s one of the huge sub-stories of the gospel of Jesus Christ. No one is ever compelled or forced to sit with Jesus. It’s our decision, IF WE WANT.
When Forrest sat down, it changed his life forever. The voice-over of Forrest, later in life, reflecting on that first day meeting Jenny explained, “From that day on we was (sic) always together. Jenny and me was (sic) like peas and carrots.”
In her 1995 hit song “What If God Was One of Us?” Joan Osborne sings, “What if God was one of us? Just a slob like one of us, Just a stranger on the bus, Tryin’ to make his way home?”
The truth is he came to be one of us. The truth is he still is one of us. The truth is he is on the bus, and you can sit next to him IF YOU WANT.